Back from the brink: One year after a journey to the end of the world

This was us one year ago today

cycling near ushuaia argentina in tierra del fuego

At that time we were cycling through our very last valley before rounding a corner to get our first glimpse of Ushuaia – our target, our goal, our destination.

It had been a long slog to get there. The most intense year of my life to plan and prepare for takeoff and then another three years steadily making our way south. For four long years we had been single-mindedly focused on that city; on the wooden sign by the town pier announcing we had reached the end of the world.

That day one year ago was amazing. It was the most incredibly phenomenal feeling to know we had reached our goal. We had dared to dream the impossible dream and had reached the unreachable star. It hadn’t always been easy, but had always been worthwhile.

cycling to ushuaia argentina

But that day also signified the conclusion of a dream; a dream we had been unwaveringly fixated upon for years. We reached the end of the road and had no idea what came next. The whole world was our oyster, there was nothing we couldn’t do. But when the whole world is an option, how does one go about narrowing it down?

floating in optionsFor months I wallowed in a tiny life raft in the middle of an ocean of possibilities. I drifted aimlessly, having no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. After being so focused for so long, my brain had no idea how to deal with directionless wandering.

It’s funny now as I look back upon those months with the benefit of hindsight, but when I was there it wasn’t funny. It was uncomfortable and unsettling. It was frustrating and I felt like I had taken my head and crammed it into a blender set on high. Confusion reigned unchecked.

Time really is the master healer and, with enough time under my belt, a new vision began to emerge.

Every single day I received emails from people asking for advice and support in making their own dreams come true. I spent hours each day responding to them, encouraging them, doing my part to get them launched into their own unique dream.  I guess I felt like I was finally able to give back just a tiny bit of the support we had received on the road.

a new chapter of my life begins nowOne day I was introducing myself to a new member of a Facebook group I’m in and typed this: Hi! I’m Nancy. I spent many years gallivanting around the world living and teaching in various countries. Most recently I spent three years cycling from Alaska to Argentina with my husband and children. Now I find I’m happiest in my little house in Boise, Idaho encouraging others to live their dreams.

And then I stopped and reread what I had just posted.

Did I really just type that? Did that really come out of my fingers? Had I really identified my new passion? I think I did.


It’s been a long year since we arrived at the end of the world in Ushuaia. All four of us have redesigned our lives into something completely different from what we had before we left.

Davy & Daryl have long enjoyed math and science and they’ve continued that passion with taking advanced courses through a special program here in Boise. They’ve also discovered a new hobby in robotics and just came back from the FIRST Robotics competition in Salt Lake City. Their team designed, built, and programmed a basketball-shooting robot. They’ve also gotten involved in Boy Scouts and enjoy their monthly campouts.

Bots of Prey FIRST Robotics team

In addition to remodeling our new house, John has been working on creating a documentary film about our journey from Alaska to Argentina. It’s been a steep learning curve and I’m sure he’ll run into quite a few more obstacles before he’s done. At this point, he’s hoping not to return to the classroom.

I‘m also hoping not to return to teacher and have been working on writing a book about our PanAm experiences. I’ve morphed my blog into a tool to empower and encourage other to chase their dreams. I’ve also jumped back into the bead world and have been teaching some beadwork classes here in Boise.


I’ve learned a few things from this whole reentry process in the meantime.

Follow your own particular dreams1) There’s no place like home

       2) You have to leave home to understand that.

            3) If you choose wisely what you’ll do with the next 24 hours,  you’ll live a very happy life.



Here are what I consider to be some of my best blog entries from this year:

March 2011

On Reaching the End of the Road

What’s Exotic?

April 2011

Brain in a Blender

Why I Cycled to the Ends of World

Which Age is Best for Travel?

May 2011

Strangers in Our Own Country

How Do You Define a Traveler?

Falling Love with Boise

Risk Assessment: A Personal Decision

June 2011

Jumping Back in the Box

Inspired by a Simple Woman

The Real Price of Quality of Life

July 2011

What We Learned in Three Years on the Road

Why Do Some People Live Their Dreams and Others Don’t?

Guinness World Record DENIED

August 2011

Baby Banning: What the No Kids Allowed Movement is Doing to Society

Response from Guinness World Records

What To Do When You Need to Go But There is No Toilet

September 2011

8 Tips for Living  Your Dream

Enjoying Life with Less

On Carrying Food and Water for Four Hungry Cyclists

An Up Close and Personal Look at the American Medical System

Reentry: A Mental Conundrum

October 2011

5 Things to Remember if You Want to Reach the Unreachable Star

Bike Touring: Do You Really Need Waterproof Panniers?

Raising Kids in a Fear-Based Society

One Moment in Time; A Lifetime of Adventure

November 2011

Living the Dream: Making it Happen

Living with Less: What Can You Ditch?

50 Lessons I Wish I Had Learned Earlier

December 2011

Can Only the Wealthy Live Their Dream?

3 Attitudes You Need to Make Your Dream Come True

Living the Dream Won’t Come Easily

January 2012

You Get to Choose How You’ll Live Today: Take Advantage of It 

Top Fears Holding You Back from Pursuing Your Passion

If Sailing Around the World Doesn’t Count as Education, What Does?

Dealing with Burnout During Long Term Travel

19 Tips to Help You Discover Your Passion and Live Your Dreams

February 2012

You Can Live the Extraordinary. Yes, You.

The Making of an Adventure Mom: A Look Back at 28 Years of Marching to a Different Drummer

French fries and chicken nuggets are travel essentials: The world’s worst family travel advice ever

You might be a traveler if…

March 2012

How to Finance Long-Term Travels (with advice from many bloggers)

7 Tips to Overcome Fear

I think I’ve discovered the key to long-term happiness. Yes, indeedy, I have.

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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15 Responses to Back from the brink: One year after a journey to the end of the world

  1. Deni March 21, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    I can’t believe it’s been a year already!… I love reading your blogs and I do find you very inspirational… keep them coming, please!! x

    • Nancy March 23, 2012 at 12:03 am #

      @Deni, Thank you Deni! I am really enjoying having my blog so won’t make it disappear any time soon!

  2. Laurel March 21, 2012 at 2:09 am #

    I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to find a “new” life after your epic adventure, but it sounds like everyone is doing very well and doing things that make them happy. I would love to see the film about your adventures. Best of luck with the business, it sounds like a fantastic idea.

    • Nancy March 23, 2012 at 12:03 am #

      @Laurel, The hardest part was trying to figure out what we wanted. We could do anything, but how does one decide out of millions of options? It was crazy.

  3. Ian March 21, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    Wow. That year has flown as I plod oh-so-slowly towards my tour of Australia ! Who knows………………………..1 day I might cycle right past your house lol

    • Nancy March 23, 2012 at 12:04 am #

      @Ian, I hope! Let me know when you’re coming through! The planning stage seems to plod along but you get there eventually.

  4. Justin March 21, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Really cool that you put together a log. Nice to see how everything is playing out.

    You’re business is just another adventure. And it will do great!

    • Nancy March 23, 2012 at 12:05 am #

      @Justin, Thanks Justin! It’s so exciting to see this come together!

  5. Living Outside of the Box March 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    Congrats on your big anniversary! I think it is fantastic that there is always another dream/goal…and yours at this moment gets to be staying cozy in one place!!

    • Nancy March 23, 2012 at 12:06 am #

      @Living Outside of the Box, It is interesting how there’s always something different to move on to, eh? I think too many people fall into the rut in whatever it is that they’re doing – whether that’s a job or travel. The key is to always reevaluate and see exactly what you want to do next.

  6. Jenn Miller March 22, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    I remember EXACTLY where I was when I read that you’d finished!! I shouted the news to our whole house… including some cling on backpackers hanging around… who asked, “What? Who are they?” When I told them… they cheered too!!! SO PROUD of you guys… then and now… this past year has been at least as wonderful to watch. I’m so happy to be your partner in crime these days!

    • Nancy March 23, 2012 at 12:07 am #

      @Jenn Miller, YAY!! That day was so amazing! I’m loving partnering up with you – we’re good at crime 🙂

  7. Kim March 22, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    A year since you’ve been back. I sometimes wonder what I will do when this dream, that I’ve been working so hard to achieve, comes to a close. I guess dreams morph and change over time. Dreams lead to new dreams that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Nancy March 23, 2012 at 12:09 am #

      @Kim, I think the big thing is that dreams morph and change and doors open that you never knew existed. Just live consciously, making conscious choices every day, and it’ll lead you to your new dream! Exciting times for sure!

  8. Nancy March 23, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    @Lilibeth, Thank you Lilibeth! It really was an incredible day. What a feeling to finally reach Ushuaia after working on it for so long!

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